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The Plan[t] to Feed the City

Author: Matteo Robiglio
Excerpt from the book RE-USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse
Project: The Plant (renewal of the Peer Foods factory)
Place: Chicago, USA
Photography: Matteo Robiglio

The conveyor rails once used to move slaughtered hogs are still hanging from the ceiling in the former Peer Foods factory – one of the last meatpacking plants to close in Chicago. It shut its doors in 2007. It was by observing something similar that Henry Ford, as he states in his 1922 autobiography My Life and Work, understood the potential of employing moving conveyor system and fixed work stations in manufacturing. If you could disassemble a hog this way, you could reverse the process and assemble a car.

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RE-USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse

Author: Matteo Robiglio
Preface excerpt from the book RE-USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse

Several tracks brought me to write this book.

The first one is biographical. A regular, well-educated student, fascinated by the irregular creativity of squatted places and the beauty of industrial icons, I grew up as an architect in during a time when my city – Torino, the powerhouse of Italian manufacturing – saw 100 million square feet of factories emptied of workers and production within a few years. The instinctive attraction for the opposite became a professional commitment to urban regeneration and architectural reuse projects and, eventually, daily living experience: these lines are written from my desk, in a former coffee factory in the core of industrial Torino, now home to my family.

Lingotto Building, Torino, Italy
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Ballast Point: From Fossil Fuel Storage to Renewable Energy Provider

Architects: McGregor Coxall
Location: Sydney, Australia
Date: 2009
Size: 2,5 ha
Photography: Mark SykesDroneheadzBrettBoardman, McGregor Coxall

This multi award winning 2.5ha post industrial waterfront park is located on a contaminated former lubricant production site on the Birchgrove Peninsula in the inner reaches of Sydney harbour. The site’s richly layered history included occupation by indigenous people, construction of the ’Menevia’ marine villa in the 1860’s, quarry use for ship ballast and finally petroleum distillation by Caltex from the 1920’s until 2002. As lead consultant, McGregor Coxall undertook project management, design development, construction documentation and administered the construction contract for the client. This project’s design is driven by a strong environmental agenda where recycled materials are used site wide. Wind turbine generators reflect a movement away from fossil fuels and an integrated stormwater management and recycle system ensures that all stormwater entering Sydney Harbour from the site has been cleaned and polished prior to its discharge.

 

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Zollhallen Plaza: a Climate Adaption Tool

Architects: Ramboll Studio Dreisetl
Location: Freiburg, Germany
Date: 2011
Size: 5600 m²
Photography: Brian Doherty | Stefan Pranjic | Ramboll

The Zollhallen Plaza in Freiburg, Germany is a new, dynamic urban counterpart for the conservation-listed customs hall which was restored in 2009. The plaza has been transformed from a freight train terminal, and then a wasteland, into an integrated multifunctional social resource for the local neighbourhood.

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Sands Bethworks: Transforming USA’s Largest Brownfield

Landscape Architects: SWA Group
Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
Date: 2008
Photography: Tom Fox / SWA

The former home of Bethlehem Steel, site of the EPA’s largest brownfield conversion plan in the nation, required further consideration to improve soil pH levels and storm water runoff in preparation for its new mixed-use tenants. Its redesign honors our country’s industrial heritage through preservation and adaptive reuse and provides a healthy, appealing environment for visitors. Most importantly, it has catalyzed a stunning revival of the South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, region.

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Nordhavn: a New City from an Industrial Past

Architects: COBESlethPolyform
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Size: 3.6 million m²
Renders:COBESlethPolyform and Rambøll
Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST

From a harbour area with free port status to a city with independent neighbourhoods, islets and canals. Nordhavn (The North Harbour) is currently being transformed into a new city district in Copenhagen by COBE, Sleth, Polyform and Rambøll.

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MFO Park: The North Zurich Parkscape

Architects: Raderschallpartner
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Date: 2002
Photography: Michael Freisager

The park site was in use for roughly a century by the Oerlikon Machine Works (MFO). In the course of industrialisation the entire grounds were at one time filled in with construction debris, sand from the foundry and ash, and the plot had thus suffered from pollution. Together with nearby Oerliker Park, an enormous wooded area is now arising, created by the contiguous tops and trunks of countless ash trees. MFO Park responds to this in its own way with the “Park House”, a large open hall and a trellis overgrown with hundreds of blooming, aromatic climbers.

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Museum of Steel: Turning Brownfield into Greenfield

Architects: Surfacedesign Inc.
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Date: 2007
Photography: Paúl Rivera

A team of international designers collaborated to transform a decommissioned blast furnace and a brownfield site into a modern history museum dedicated to the region’s rich history of steel production. Borrowing from materials endemic to the site, innovative landscape design weaves together with modern architecture to usher an old relic into the 21st century. Environmentally sensitive technologies – such as green roofs and a storm water collection system – offer a new approach to the landscape while respecting the original context.

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Silosamlingen: an Industrial Heritage for the New Artistic Hub

Architects: MX_SImestreswåge arquitectes
Location: Krisitansand, Norway
Size: Museum: 8.750 m2 | Performing arts school:  3.950 m2 | Hotel + incubator building: 64.50 m2

The international competition proposes the transformation of the city’s port area into an artistic hub. The site is overlooked by an old grain silo dating from 1935, one of the first in the country to be constructed with cylindrical cells made of reinforced concrete. The building is a modernist icon, praised by giants of architecture such as Walter Gropius or Le Corbusier, and will be incorporated into the new museum complex. The new facility is located next to the multi-award-winning Kilden auditorium and theatre, a project carried out by the young Finnish architecture firm ALA Architects, winner of the design competition for the new Helsinki Central Library.

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From Biscuits to Bits at Bakery Square

Author: Matteo Robiglio
Excerpt from the book RE-USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse
Project: Bakery Square (renewal of the Nabisco factory)
Place: Pittsburgh, USA
Photography: Matteo Robiglio

The National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) factory on Penn Avenue, built in 1918, was part of a nationwide expansion plan. In-house architect Albert G. Zimmermann designed the new seven-story plant in compliance with the company’s values of style and worker dignity. Its large windows for natural lightning, showers and locker rooms for employees, and fireproof stairways made it a point of reference even before construction – it was already written about in 1912 and 1916. Other bakeries opened around Nabisco along and near Penn Avenue in the 1920s and 30s.

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